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April 11, 2013

Five Workers at Wyoming Premium Farms Plead Guilty to Animal Cruelty following Undercover Investigation

Humane Society of the United States Evidence Leads to Guilty Pleas

Five employees from Wheatland, Wyo.-based Wyoming Premium Farms— Patrick Ruckavina, Richard Pritekel, Edward Pritekel, Kali Oseland and David Bienz—have pled guilty to multiple counts of cruelty to animals after a Humane Society of the United States undercover investigation documented acts of animal abuse.

During the investigation, released last year, Wyoming Premium was supplying pigs to meat giant Tyson Foods, which severed its relationship with the farm after the investigation was released.

The investigation documented Wyoming Premium workers kicking live piglets like soccer balls, swinging sick piglets in circles by their hind legs, striking mother pigs with their fists and repeatedly and forcefully kicking them as they resisted leaving their young, among other abuses.

“All animals deserve humane treatment, including animals raised for food,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president for investigations at The Humane Society of the United States. “We are grateful to law enforcement officials for pursuing charges in this case, and we hope that these guilty pleas will deter further abuse of animals on industrial factory farms.”

In addition to the individual acts of abuse which led to criminal charges, The HSUS’ investigation also found breeding pigs confined day-and-night in gestation crates, tiny cages that virtually immobilize animals for nearly their entire lives. Gestation crates, used throughout Tyson Foods’ supply chain, have come under fire by McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Costco, Safeway, Kroger, Oscar Mayer, Jimmy Dean, Sysco and other nearly 50 other leading food companies, as well as from veterinarians, farmers, animal welfare advocates, scientists, consumers and others.

Media Contact:

Anna West, awest@humanesociety.org, 301-258-1518

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